Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to Build Codex's Staff Pt.1

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!! I know, I know, so many people hate this holiday because it’s a completely fictitious, commercialized holiday created by the greedy corporations to force everyone into spending money on shallow tokens of love. But, I’m the first to admit that I’m a sucker for commercial holidays! And Valentine’s is one of my favorites! I think any opportunity to express feelings for the ones you love is well worth taking. A dozen roses are fine, but if you want to take the less commercial route, it will probably make a bigger statement! I personally enjoy much more personal sentiments. I’m no expert, but I think things like participating in your loved one’s favorite activity, or making their favorite dessert (even if you despise it!) will always get a bigger smile than a teddy bear or chocolate heart. The more uniquely personal the gift, the better the surprise.

What’s not surprising is how much love fans have for The Guild! That’s why Felicia Day and I cooked up this heart shaped box of laughs for you! I hope it makes your day brighter than any corporate greeting card could!

I know I had a great time filming this. Felicia worked over 12 hours in the shop with me, and we spent most of that time laughing! I swear to you that there was not a single dull moment of footage, but Brad somehow managed to cut it down to three 7-minute segments. I will post the others each a week apart. Believe me, you won’t want to miss the end result! Speaking of which, check out the Part 3 post for details on how you can own the Codex Staff that Felicia made!

I hope you enjoy my first video blog! I have to give very special thanks again to Felicia, for taking the time to do this with me. I always relish any chance I can get to work with her. Felicia is the real deal: rocket scientist smart, movie star beautiful, renaissance talented, laugh out loud funny, and, honestly, the hardest working person I have ever met. Felicia is the sole frontrunner of her career, which spans television, film, web series, comic books, video games, acting, writing, producing, 24 hour a day social networking, and somehow she still finds time to play Xbox till all hours of the night. She makes me feel like a slacker!(And you guys know how many hours I put in!) I consider myself very lucky to have gotten so much of her time for this blog!

Fans of the GUILD are fans of her show because, well, it’s HER show! Felicia Day is on the front line of the future of entertainment. She is really changing people’s minds about how Hollywood should be run, and it’s an honor to even be in the same room as that’s happening.

And for all those who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out The Guild: Season 3 on DVD! It is available tomorrow, February 15th. If you think this 7 minutes is funny, you may never take that DVD out of your disk drive! It’s the best.

As for the Codex staff, you will need these supplies if you are going to spend your V-Day building what we did for part one:

One 1-1/8 “ wooden dowel, 48” long

Two 6” clear plastic hemispheres

Two 4-1/2” clear plastic hemispheres

Sandpaper, grits 100, 240, 320, 400, 600

Plastic polish, scratch remover

Soft rags or shammies

Green pearlescent spray paint

Cyanoacrylate glue and kicker

One 1-3/4” drywall screw

12”x12” piece of 1/8” Sintra plastic

Magic Sculpt Epoxy putty

Drawing Paper

3M Spray 77 adhesive

Paper tape

And these tools:

Xacto knife with #11 blades




French Curves

Ruled circle template

Dental wax spatula


Cordless Drill

Drill bits

Screw tip

There will be more supplies needed next week, but I guess we’ll take this one step at a time. Alright, no sense doing all this typing when there’s video to watch! As always, feel free to ask me any questions about the process in the comment section. Enjoy, and I hope to see you back next week! Oh, and save me some of those chocolate covered strawberries…c’mon, you can hate the holiday, but you know you love those strawberries!


Guest Director: Sean Becker

The legendary director of THE GUILD dropped by to say hi, and was kind enough to stick around for the first few hours to help me put all the pieces of the puzzle together. My head was spinning, and Sean’s presence and suggestions got things off to a great start. Thanks!

Camera Crew: Pax S. Franchot, Brad Allen Wilde, Mike Houghton, Seamus Donahoe

These guys lit the set and helmed what ended up being a 4-camera shoot!

Editor: Brad Allen Wilde

Brad couldn’t stay for the whole shoot cause he had a film playing in a festival, so he was shocked to come back and find over 20 tapes worth of footage! Mike digitized it all, then Brad tirelessly spent the next week whittling it down to what you are watching. If I can convince him to give me another day, there might even be an out takes reel posted!

Art Department: Bryan Fulk, Brock Potter

Originally, I was going to film this blog like a cooking show, where Felicia would start a part, then these two guys would finish it off camera as I introduced the next part. I thought it would save time. But Felicia was so into it, she actually followed through on all the work herself! So these guys help shave some time off by making sure we had everything we needed standing by, and they both even jumped in to man a camera from time to time!

Still Photography: Marissa Cuevas

When she isn’t busy being a movie star, Marissa loves taking pictures. She stood by all day and grabbed some great moments, along with a complete step by step of the process, which I will post at a later date.


“Do You Want To Date My Avatar? “

By Felicia Day and Jed Whedon

“Losin’ It”

By Fallbrooke


  1. I really enjoyed watching this. I'm excited for the next segments to be out. :D

    I'm probably going to try my hand at making the staff too at some point!

  2. That was extremely entertaining. I want part two now. :)

  3. That was mildly hilarious. Mostly because Felicia is crazy. :P

  4. This was great!!! I can't wait to see the next one :)

  5. Here in Brazil, the valentine day is in June, 12th. But only the date is different, the ads are the same. I like it, because make people happier.

  6. Stumbled upon this via twitter. Very cool and funny How to. Waiting for part 2 :D

  7. Awesome! I found Felicia even more entertaining in this video than as Codex. And Greg makes it look so easy. Vork T-Shirt FTW!

  8. It was a great idea to have Felicia in the video! She's so awesome. Also, you look like you know what you are doing, so thumbs up for you too! ;)

  9. this is so cool! Codex is on my list of costumes to make, I didn't think I'd have the skills to make the staff but now it might be possible!

  10. Well done. I'll be looking forward to the next two parts.

  11. Awesome! I took a break from studying last night, and through some web surfing I found out about the Guild. Three seasons later, I want more more more more... What could happen next? Perhaps there is a big PVP area, where the guild master can get a year of free Wi Fi, which would help our Vork? Perhaps, the team has to create a larger guild to do 25 man raid content? This could lead to some interesting adventures. What happens if someone gets a real job. and starts to leave their guild buddies behind? What will the work / live / MMO balance be? I for one was not able to balance all three, I had to quit my favorite MMO :-(

  12. That was absolutely fabulous! Thank you.

  13. You guys make a great duo.. Felicia's reactions are great but Greg's reactions to Felicia are priceless.. can't wait for part two.

  14. Oh.. I laughed so hard at the number 2 joke.

  15. lmao at awkward coconut bra face

  16. Two of my favorite indie artists together in a video, I'm in heaven.

  17. That was excellent! I want to see the rest!

  18. I love Felecia Day... she is an amazing woman! And I get the same expression when I use a drill, haha. Can't wait for the next segments!

  19. Great video, guys! You and Felicia are both awesome and talented. I love it! Oh, and I really like the cameo by your DOG! Too cute, too cute. I think you should just make a video with your dog, Greg.

  20. I'd love to try to make it!
    What store/s would you recommend going to for the supplies?

  21. Hi! has the majority of the materials, including the clear half spheres, the leather, hemp twine, cyano and kicker, specialty paints like the clear red, and Magic Sculpt. The dowel and PVC can be found at a local hardware store, or Home Depot. The Sintra plastic can be found at sign shops or plastic supply stores. Some hobby stores carry small sheets, but it restricts the size of your piece. And has the casting resin I used in Pt. 2. They also carry the transparent dyes for it, although I get mine from Hope that helps! Send pictures when you are done!

  22. Greg, that was very entertaining and educational. You looked like you had fun. When I come up to visit I want to do a project too. Miss you.



  23. Yes. That's the way. This is because, most of the props and costumes most people tend to already have.

  24. Hey, I looked at kitkraft and I could not FIND the hemispheres.... what section of their website are they on?

  25. Hi, Secret Agent Grrl! Go to, click "browse the store" on the upper left of the home page, and the first listing is "acrylic domes and display boxes". They have all kinds of sizes. If you need something they don't have, call and ask for Myke. Tell him I sent you!!!

    Good luck. Send me a photo of your Codex staff when you are done!


  26. Ok Greg... I'm attempting to make this staff as you did. :) SO... I have a couple of questions!

    1. Do you HAVE to use Cyanoacrylate glue? Is there a reason it has to be this type of glue?

    2. Can Sculpy be used in the place of the epoxy putty? Again, is there a specific reason you need to use epoxy? (bonds better or something maybe?)

    3. FYI for others - I am using "fillable ornaments" in the place of the spheres... they were easier to find locally and much less expensive. I like that in case I made a horrible mistake.

    I would SO appreciate if you could answer my two questions :) I love Felicia and you two were so much fun to watch during this project! Thank you tons!

    Rock N Roll!

  27. Hey, Lucy,

    Thanks for using my blog for tips on your project. I try to show how I build things, and what I use to do so, as guidelines and suggestions, but there are all kinds of ways to achieve the same effect. The important things are what is available to you, and what you are most comfortable using. For instance, Felicia WAS NOT comfortable using the Dremel, so I'll probably have to come up with an alternative tool for next time...

    Answer 1: You don't have to use Cyno. There are all kinds of glues on the market, but it has been my experience that Zap-a-Gap is the fastest, strongest, and best bond for the widest variety of materials. It doesn't work for everything, but it's great for projects like this. Other glues will work, but be sure to test them before committing. Especially if you are actively cosplaying. The last thing you want is to be at a convention and have your staff start to fall apart!

    Answer 2: There are alternatives to the epoxy putty, but I would not recommend Sculpy as one of them for this purpose! You may know this from other posts on my blog, but Super Sculpty is one of my all time favorite materials. But I never use it on practical props. It is a "presentation material" only in my opinion, for sculptures to be displayed and not handled. If you are making original that you intend to mold, then cast in stronger materials, go for it. But I highly recommend not using it on a prop or costume that you will use or wear, since it doesn't really have any structural integrity or impact strength and wouldn't really hold up very long. Alts would be Bondo or caved foam that you hardcoat with urethane resin. Ultimately, Magic Sculpt was my choice since it meets all criteria, and it's cheaper than Sculpy!

    Answer 3: Great suggestion on the fillable ornament! I can't wait to see your Codex Staff! Please send pictures!!!